This is a fun one, because hedgehogs! We even have a video today.
Of the mole The mole is called talpa because it is condemned to darkness by its permanent blindness. For it lacks eyes, eyeless, is always digging in the ground and throwing out the soil, and feeds on the the roots of the plants which the Greeks call aphala, vetch.
Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 88): Moles have very keen hearing; even buried in the earth they can overhear people talking, and will run away if they hear people talking about them.
Of hedgehogs The hedgehog is covered in prickles. From this it gets its name, because it bristles, when it is enclosed in its prickles and is protected by them on all sides against attack. For as soon as it senses anything, it first bristles then, rolling itself into a ball, regains its courage behind its armour. The hedgehog has a certain kind of foresight: as it tears off a grape, it rolls backwards on it and so delivers it to its young. It is also called echinus, urchin. This ‘urchin’, thinking ahead, protects itself with twin ventilation ducts, so that when it thinks that the north wind is about to blow, it blocks the northern one, and when it knows that the south wind is giving warning of mist in the air, it goes to the northern passage to avoid the vapours blown from the opposite direction, which will do it harm.
Of ants The ant has three characteristics. The first is that they march in line, each one carrying a grain of corn in its mouth. Those who have none do not say to the others: ‘Give us some of your grain’, but follow the tracks of those who first went out to the place where they find the corn and carry it off to their nest. Let this description serve to signify sensible men, who, like the ants, act in unity, as a result of which they will be rewarded in the future. The ant’s second characteristic is that when it stores grain in its nest, it divides its supply in two, lest by chance it should be soaked in the winter rains, the seed germinate and the ant die of hunger. In the same way, you, O man, should keep separate the words of the Old and the New Testament, that is, distinguish between the spiritual and the carnal, lest the law interpreted literally should kill you, for the law is a spiritual thing, as the Apostle says: ‘For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life’ (2 Corinthians, 3:6). For the Jews, who paid attention only to the letter of the law and scorned its spiritual interpretation, have died of hunger. The ant’s third characteristic is that at harvest time it walks through the crop and finds out by nibbling the ears whether it is barley or wheat. If the crop is barley, the ant goes to another ear and sniffs it, and if it smells wheat, it climbs to the top of the ear and carries off the grain to its nest. For barley is food for beasts. As Job says: ‘Barley grew for me instead of wheat’ (see Job, 31:40), meaning the doctrine of heretics. For heresy is like barley, and should be cast away, because it shatters and destroys men’s souls. Therefore, Christian, flee from all heretics; their teachings are false and hostile to the truth. For the Scriptures say: ‘Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise’ (Proverbs, 6:6). For the ant has no knowledge of cultivation; it has no-one to force it do anything; nor does it act under the direction of a master, telling it how to lay in a store of food. Yet it gathers in its harvest from your labours. And although you often go hungry, it lacks for nothing. It has no locked storehouses, no impenetrable security, no piles of supplies which cannot be touched. The watchman looks on at thefts which he dares not prevent, the owner is aware of his losses but takes no revenge. They carry their booty in a black column across the fields, the paths swarming with the convoy as it passes; the grains that cannot be held in their narrow mouths in narrow parts are consigned to their shoulders. The owner of the harvest looks on and blushes with shame at the thought of denying such frugal gains won by such conscientious industry. The ant has also learned to watch out for periods of fine weather. For if it sees that its supplies of corn are becoming wet, soaked by the rain, it carefully tests the air for signs of a mild spell, then it opens up its stores, and carries its supplies on its shoulders from its vaults underground out into the open, so that the corn can dry in the unbroken sunshine. Finally, you will never on any of those days see rain spouted from the clouds, unless the ant has first returned its supplies of corn to its stores.